Dear Smiley: If you have room for one more tobacco story, here’s one of my favorites:
My granddaddy Elzy Hays was born, reared and lived in the country his entire life. He enjoyed his snuff.
He was the oldest of 14, all born in the wilds of Bienville Parish.
Of the 14 was a sister, Avis, called his ‘uptown sister’ because she lived in Shreveport, drove a Cadillac, and never left the house unless she was dressed to the nines — hose, heels, perfectly coiffed.
Avis visited Elzy in the Ruston hospital while he was on his death bed with prostate cancer.
When her big brother reached into his bedside table and took out a can of Garrett snuff, she became irate and exclaimed, “Elzy, I’ve told you, that stuff is going to KILL you.”
Watch your step
Dear Smiley: As a pre-med student at Nicholls State, I was sent to a slaughterhouse in Thibodaux to get some infected livers for the parasitology class.
Wanting to look the part and impress the employees there, I wore my white lab coat over my shirt and slacks and my brand-new shoes.
As I was walking around the slaughterhouse with my head up high, trying to impress with my doctorly garb, the employees were obviously not impressed by my presence.
They were even less impressed when I stepped into a drain that drained all the waste from the slaughters down the concrete floor.
My foot went in ankle deep, and smelled like something buzzards would regard as a dessert.
It was tough, but I kept my head up high as I walked to my car.
It was also tough going to class for the rest of the day with my pants leg rolled up, one bare foot, and wearing only one brand-new shiny shoe!
Getting his attention
Dear Smiley: My brother, an Air Force pilot in the late ’50s and early ’60s, tells of a squadron he was in where they had a very ‘gung ho’ security officer.
About once a week one of the pilots would find a matchbox on the seat of his aircraft with a note that said, “This is a bomb. What action will you take?”
Then they had to go through the whole security drill business.
He said they took a large, heavy dummy bomb casing from a display at the armory and put it in the back seat of the security officer’s car.
Attached was a note that said, “This is a matchbox. What action will you take?”
There was an immediate reduction in security drills.
Out of Arkansas
Dear Smiley: Have you ever wondered about the “boot heel” of Missouri?
I was born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, near the boot heel.
Back in 1811 there was an earthquake on the Mississippi River at New Madrid, Missouri, and it was said the Mississippi River ran backward.
More tremors followed, and soon all occupants in the area moved out.
Land was cheap, and an entrepreneur in Arkansas bought it.
However, he did not want the property to be in Arkansas, and petitioned the states to redraw the line so it would be in Missouri.
T. MED HOGG
Dear Smiley: Stories of brake tags remind me of the worst inspection I ever endured, in Miami, Florida.
My van had a heavy-duty clutch I could depress only if I pressed back in the seat whilst nearly ripping the steering wheel out.
If you put on the brakes without depressing the clutch, the van would stall out.
I heard the inspector yelling at the man in front of me, “Stomp them brakes!” so I got concerned about my ability to satisfy him.
My turn came, and I got the guy hollering at me: “Honey, if you want to pass, you got to stomp them brakes harder!”
I had a privacy curtain strung behind the seats. Because it was hot, I had slipped the tail of the curtain under my behind.
I took a deep breath, stomped the brakes and clutch. The seat broke loose and I flew backward, causing the privacy curtain to fall down over my face.
I was upside down, trying to kick the curtain off, the inspector laughing so hard he had to hold onto the van for support.
He slapped the sticker on my windshield and sent me away.
Dear Smiley: Our grandson is honing his hoop skills this summer at Coach Johnny Jones’ basketball camp at the Ole War Skule.
At noon one day, my wife, Cindy, picked up a very tired and hungry 6-year-old.
“How was the camp, Anderson?” she inquired.
“It was great, Nini. I really liked dribbling.”
Later in their conversation, he added, “I really like Coach Jimmy Johns.”
“Hmmm. An honest misspeak, or was the lad hinting for a sub?
PERRY ANDERSON SNYDER
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.